On January 5, President Clinton's landmark Roadless Area Protection Policy was announced. The Policy, which protects 58.5 million acres of our national forests, including immediate protection for Alaska's Tongass, will prevent new road construction and commercial logging in our last wildlands. While this is a huge victory for forest conservation, we will need to fight to guarantee the new policy stays in place under the incoming Bush administration and 107th Congress.
President Bush has been vocal in his opposition to the Roadless Policy and has put a 60-day delay on its implementation. During this time the new Bush Administration will be reviewing the policy as well as many other conservation initiatives put in place by President Clinton.
Some members of Congress from western states are also voicing their intent to prevent the Roadless Policy from being implemented. The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) is one tool several Congressmen have said they will invoke as a way of overturning the president's policy. Under the SBREFA Congress has 60 congressional working days to consider the Roadless Policy. SBREFA, has never been used successfully to overturn a regulation, yet a simple majority vote in both houses would overturn the policy.
It is extremely important that members of Congress hear from you. Please write to your two Senators and your one Representative urging them to oppose any attempts to undermine the Roadless Policy and its application to Alaska's Tongass and Chugach. Personal letters are most effective, but if you do not have the time, send a free fax in seconds from www.akrain.org.
Here is a Sample Letter:
The Honorable Olympia Snowe U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 email@example.com The Honorable Susan Collins U.S. Senate Washington, DC 20510 firstname.lastname@example.org The Honorable Tom Allen U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 http://www.house.gov/allen/ The Honorable John Baldacci U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 email@example.com
Dear Senator ___________, / Representative ____________
I am writing to voice my support for the new Roadless Area Protection Policy. This landmark policy will help protect our nation's last heritage forests including the nation's largest - Alaska's Tongass and Chugach National Forest. These unroaded wildlands provide important areas for people to fish, hunt and recreate. They are also some of the last sources of clean drinking water and important habitat for fish and wildlife. More than 1.6 million concerned Americans helped shape this landmark policy. It would be inappropriate for Congress to attempt to undermine the huge public support mounted to protect these lands.
Unfortunately, it is my understanding that some members of Congress would like to overturn the Roadless Policy through the use of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act or other similar means. I urge you to oppose any such attempts. I also would like to express my particular concern over the fate of Alaska's Tongass and Chugach National Forest, which contain the largest remaining tracts of temperate rainforest in the world. Please oppose any attempts to roll back protections for America's last great rainforests. It is in the best interest of this nation to leave some areas undeveloped-for once they are gone they can never be replaced. Thank you.
283 Water Street, 3rd floor, P.O. Box 2118, Augusta, Maine 04338 phone: 207-628-6404 fax - 207-628-5741 email: firstname.lastname@example.org